US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States does not want a war with Iran, amid escalating tensions between the two countries.
Speaking in Russia, Pompeo said the US was looking for Iran to behave like a “normal country”.
Meanwhile, Iran’s supreme leader has also said there will be no war with the US.
Tensions have escalated after four tankers were damaged off the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
US investigators believe Iran or groups it supports were involved in the incident but no evidence of Iran’s role has emerged.
Pompeo, who held talks with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Russian city of Sochi, said the US “fundamentally” did not seek a conflict with Iran, the BBC reported.
“We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion.”
In remarks carried on state media and on his Twitter account, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: “We don’t seek a war, nor do they.”
He also repeated Tehran’s position that it would not negotiate with the US on a nuclear deal to replace the one President Donald Trump withdrew from last year.
Few details have been released about the incident in the Gulf which is said to have taken place early on Sunday within UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of the emirate of Fujairah.
Four commercial ships had been targeted in a “sabotage attack” near Fujairah port, just outside the Strait of Hormuz, the UAE foreign ministry said.
There were no casualties but Saudi Arabia said two of its ships had suffered “significant damage”. Another tanker was Norwegian-registered while the fourth was reportedly UAE-flagged.
US military investigators discovered large holes in all of the ships and believe they were caused by explosive charges, according to reports quoting an unnamed official. They did not explain how the damage was linked to Iran.